Rendang Curry

Indonesian cuisine has always been influential in Thai cooking. One of the more popular Indonesian dishes in Thailand and throughout Asia is Rendang chicken or beef curry. Rendang is considered a “dry” curry, which means the sauce is simmered down to a minimum. Because it is so distilled, the sauce sticks to the meat therefore making this dish incredibly flavourful. As a bonus, its wide variety of spices makes it extremely healthy.

If you like your curry with an abundance of flavour, you’ll love Rendang.


For the Sauce:

1/2 can coconut milk
2 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
1 onion (peeled and quartered)
4 cloves garlic
5 kafir lime leaves
1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger
1 to 3 red chilies (depending on how hot you like your curry)
3/4 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
4 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp shrimp paste (or add 1 additional tablespoon more of fish sauce)

For the Chicken:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces

Optional: 2 star anise Optional: fresh cilantro for garnish Optional: 5 Tbsp Toasted Cocunut ground and added to the blend.


Place all sauce ingredients in a food processor. Blend well to form a thick curry paste. If you don’t have a food processor, simply chop onion and herbs finely then combine with the coconut milk, spices and other ingredients. These herbs and spices can also be ground together with a pestle and mortar.

Place the sauce in a wok or pot over medium-high heat. Continue to stir occasionally as you bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer.

Add the chicken pieces plus the whole star anise, if using, and stir well. Do not cover, as you want the sauce to reduce and become thicker.

Allow the curry to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked and tender. The sauce will have reduced so that it is almost like a coating on the meat (plus there will be a little sauce leftover in the pan).

Serve directly from the wok with any extra sauce poured over. Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro, if desired.

Serve it with Thai jasmine-scented rice or easy Thai coconut rice. You can also serve this dish with flatbread.

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